Our coverage of boston marathon bombing

Russ Baker

WhoWhatWhy’s Place in a Crazy Year

2017, done!


2018, doing more!


This past year, WhoWhatWhy kept the heat on for a potent brew of distinctly consequential news.


We grew our team by 30 percent, produced more stories and podcasts than ever before, and took on new beats and topics. Among the highlights:

  • Russiagate: We published original investigations that, early on, roadmapped for investigators aspects of Donald Trump’s associations and operations that may help explain both his behavior vis-a-vis Russia — and why it is difficult for the authorities View article …
Jeff Schechtman

Conversation Is Not Dead — At Least Not At WhoWhatWhy

Our Friday podcasts have quickly become a favorite among our readers. Week after week, host Jeff Schechtman has conversations with some of the most interesting people in the world and takes on the most important topics of the day.


If you are not a regular listener yet, we have compiled a small sample of some of the podcasts you may have missed.



Daniel Ellsberg The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from View article …


A Look Back at Our Front Page Artwork

WhoWhatWhy features new artwork on the top of the front page each day to promote and illustrate the most important stories we publish. These “panoramas” are replaced every 24 hours. That’s a shame because a lot of work goes into them and they are true works of art.


As part of our series reviewing WhoWhatWhy’s work this year, below are some of our favorite panorama’s from 2017.

Dark Shadows: Iran-Contra, View article …

Tim Dillon, Ray Kump

Laughs, Tears, the Deep State and Russ Baker at NY Comedy Festival

Comedians Tim Dillon and Ray Kump, with their special guest, WhoWhatWhy founder Russ Baker, take on the world’s ills and still find a way to make the audience smile.


In a live podcast from the TBS Comedy Hub at the New York Comedy Festival, they address wars, nasty politicians, and the meaning of life as seen through an investigative lens — and from the dark perspective that writers and comedians share.

Full Text Transcript:


As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to resource constraints, View article …

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

DOJ Continues to Block Media Access to Tsarnaev

For over two years now, WhoWhatWhy has been trying to get the government to give us the details of the justification behind incarcerating convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev under a repressive confinement regime known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). SAMs make it nearly impossible for the media to have any access to prisoners.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to budge and continues to deploy the dubious logic that to confirm or deny the existence of SAMs would be an unwarranted invasion of Tsarnaev’s privacy. This was in response to a request we filed back in 2015 through the View article …

hush, secret

The FBI’s Increasingly Odd Silence on Boston Bombing

As another mega-budget Hollywood movie about the Boston Marathon bombing nears release,  the mainstream media are finally addressing the many unanswered questions concerning the mastermind of the bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.


And yet — four years after the bombing and two years after Tamerlan’s younger brother Dzhokhar was sentenced to death for his role — the feds still aren’t talking.


WhoWhatWhy readers will be familiar with most of these open questions:


•  How was Tamerlan able to travel back and forth to the country from which he sought asylum in 2012, despite being on multiple terror watchlists?

View article …


More Evidence of Spook Interaction With Boston Marathon Bomber?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) just released previously unseen notes from a 2011 interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The release puts a new wrinkle in the murky backstory of its relationship to the ringleader of the Boston marathon bombing.

Tsarnaev told the agents that four men dressed in suits had previously come looking for him (date not specified). They wanted to “talk to Tamerlan,” the report states. The men, who are described as “young” and “handsome,” identified themselves as FBI agents to someone whose name is redacted in the report.

According to the summary, the four men said View article …

New Book Claims FBI Obstructed Justice in Boston Bombing

Editor’s Note:

See here for an exclusive WhoWhatWhy conversation with author Michele McPhee.


For almost four years, WhoWhatWhy has been a lone voice casting doubt on the FBI’s official narrative of the Boston marathon bombing. Now, investigative journalist and Boston-based ABC news producer Michele McPhee has raised many of the same questions we’ve been asking since two explosions and the subsequent manhunt traumatized New England’s largest metropolitan area.


In her new book, Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing, McPhee adds weight to WhoWhatWhy’s skepticism that the feds View article …

James Comey, FBI

Spotlight on the FBI: The Bureau’s Checkered Past and Present

We presented a story on March 27, 2017 — Why FBI Can’t Tell All on Trump, Russia — that contained troubling information about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Some found it shocking, even during these times when nothing seems shocking anymore.

To be sure, with the FBI, as with all institutions, there are extenuating circumstances, the competing priorities and agendas, unrealistic expectations, and tremendous pressure — from the press, from the public, and from above — to produce results.

This pressure may partly explain the bad choices the Bureau continues to make. Partly.

The fact is, the FBI View article …

Donald Trump

Russ Baker Talks with Comedians on Trump, Russian Mafia, and FBI

WhoWhatWhy’s Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker joins “serious comedians” Tim Dillon and Ray Crump in studio to discuss his recent groundbreaking article on Donald Trump, the Russian mob, and the FBI.


Featured prominently in the discussion is Felix Sater, a curious Trump associate whose business card claimed “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump”, yet in a deposition Trump claimed he wouldn’t recognize him if he was in the room.


It turns out that Sater, a convicted criminal with mob connections, had become an FBI informant inside a mob organization with roots in Russia and ties to Vladimir Putin.


What does it all mean? View article …

Noor Salman, Omar Mateen, Pulse Nightclub

Did the Feds Indict the Wife of Orlando Shooter for Sins of Her Husband?

The widow of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was arrested last week by federal authorities on charges of “providing material support” to a terrorist group related to the June 12, 2016, mass murder. Prosecutors say Noor Salman knew about her husband’s plan to attack the Pulse Nightclub.


However, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there was no link found between Mateen and terrorist groups. The “material support” charge presumably comes from the fact that Mateen told police via cell phone that he “pledged allegiance” to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and made View article …


Fort Lauderdale Shooting: FBI Involvement in Another Act of Violence

Two months before Esteban Santiago opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol at Fort Lauderdale’s airport Friday, killing five and injuring six, he underwent an “assessment” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


This procedure, which can involve intrusive investigations and interrogation, ended with the Bureau finding that Santiago had committed no crimes and had no ties to terrorism.


A growing number of these incidents exhibit the same disturbing feature: the FBI and/or other federal agencies had prior knowledge of the perpetrators. And there’s another common thread: the FBI’s ex post facto explanations of those interactions do not make a lot of View article …